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This is beginning to bother me...

Posted by pskvorc 3 (pskvorc@biopar.com) on
Tue, May 6, 14 at 13:34

If I leave a piece of vegetable matter - be it fruit or non-fruit - in my refrigerator for "too long", it turns into a 'science project'. This is in a COLD, "DRY", ENVIRONMENT. An environment intentionally NOT conducive to "science projects".

HOWEVER...

I can put that same piece of fruit or non-fruit vegetable matter in the blasted worm bin - a place that is WARM and MOIST and HIGHLY conducive to "mold and rot", AND A WEEK LATER IT LOOKS LIKE IT DID THE DAY I PUT IT IN THE WORM BIN! (The exception has been a tomato that "went away" PDQ in the worm bin.)

I'm NOT joking here. I have put SEVERAL different vegetable materials in my bins - materials that were "on their way out" in the refrigerator - that suddenly get a "new lease on life" when I put them in the worm bin. I find them essentially UNCHANGED after SEVERAL DAYS!

Forum decorum precludes use of my well-practiced, Navy-trained vernacular...

Paul


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

My worm inn was trying to birth a few bowling ball sized turnips or maybe they were beets with greens growing. That did not work out too well. The vegetables did not look that good going in.


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

Have you tried freezing them first? I have found that when I chop and freeze foods, then leave them out for three days to thaw that they are breaking down nicely before I put them in the bin.


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

I think maybe you missed my point, demillo.

I don't have any 'concern' about the 'food' getting to the worms. Rather I'm commenting on the strange and bazaar cozmik forces that will cause a fruit or vegetable to decay IN A REFIGERATOR, but take that same fruit or vegetable THAT IS ALREADY STARTING TO DECAY, and put it in a worm bin, and it will go a WEEK without another mold tendril showing it's skinny little head.

Just another example of how the universe hates to 'go along' with what we 'want'. If we want 'it' to stay fresh by putting it in a dry, cold environment, it decays. If we WANT it to decay so we put it in a WARM, WET environment, not only does it take its sweet time, the decay that started in the refrigerator APPEARS TO BE ARRESTED!

It's annoying...

Paul


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Paul, that was my observation as well although my scraps weren't in the fridge, just on the kitchen counter or a container at room temp.
My thinking, thrown in the bin, the worms will start consuming the bacteria and this slowed down the rotting process. Worms will even "slurped" the soft tissue. Left on the counter, the bacteria keep multiplying and speed up rotting.


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

Stuff looks different when it's laying in a strange place.

We have higher expectations of a piece of celery in the crisper of the refrigerator than when it's laying in a pile of worm poop.

CD


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

I share Otis11 hypothesis. That is what I think is going on, too.


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This is what happens if you fail paying homage to the fridge gods while over doing it with the ancient worm temples.


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frig or bin ?

interesting observation and more interesting hypotheses (plural).
Ha ! Control the variables, Paul. ; ) Time factor ?


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

Ah, I forgot about the gods and godesses.


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

I was beginning to feel like a woman. (Think about it. If the explanation doesn't come to "you" I'll explain it.)

I thinks klem1 is onto something...

On a practical note, I think otis11 is on to something. Great thinking on that one! It's nice to know someone else has made the same observation.

It's not a matter of "perspective" (looking in a refer vs looking in a bin), neither is it a matter of "time". Over a week ago, I cut about half an inch off of an already cut head of cabbage because it was getting the black mold that one often sees on a head of cabbage left too long in the refer. That bit of 'coleslaw' was ALREADY moldy. Into the worm bin it went. Today, it is over a week gone by, and THERE IS NO NEW MOLD! (And the worms aren't exactly 'working it over either'.)

"Feeling like a woman..."

Since the social upheavals of the '60s, men have been admonished by their 'significant others' with "I wasn't looking for you to "fix" anything. I just wanted you to listen to me!"

My "complaint" was more of a shaking fist to the perverse forces of the universe that confound whatever mankind puts its hand to, rather than a call for help or a 'solution'. However, I am genuinely impressed with otis11's evaluation, as I am always more satisfied with objective analysis than 'magic' or blaming the gods.

Paul


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My simple theory: some/many fungi thrive on dry and even cool environments. These are the ones that live in your fridge. I believe it is also a known fact that they exude compounds that drive away other bacteria, so they can tend to predominate in these environments. Like bread fungi, they consume certain foods from the outside in (esp since they are _visible_ from the outside). (I believe but do not know that they get their water from the inside of the fruit/veggies, hence giving the fruit/veggies that drying out look)

Conversely, the fact that you don't see the decay of the stuff on your compost pile doesn't mean it's not decaying - it's happening the other way 'round, inside out. The fungi no longer have the environment to htemselves and can't dominate by putting out compounds to keep the bacteria away.

Either way, it all breaks down in the end. All you're seeing is a difference between which decomposers break down your stuff first, and how it looks while it's going on.


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Oh yes, we all know that with time everything eventually becomes compost. And most of us want to shorten the time for stuff to become compost, don't we. At least, this is why I noticed that stuff/scraps stopped/slowed rotting once added to the worm bin. From hence on I don't put fresh scraps in my bins. (Sorry sbryce, I need my worms to work like, right away). Another reason for doing this, I hope to prevent harmful gases collecting and harming the worms.


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Pre-compost urns, many decorative to look magnifico in the casa, are used in my country to speed the process to make the contents more friendly to the vermi sooner.

CD


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Good observation and question. I have noticed some whole foods do stay whole food a long time in my bin.. I think Otis may be on to something.
Maybe in the future fresh food will be stored in a worm-bin. A true energy saver with a place for your scraps to make soil, to grow more food.

Are you ready to perform your first wormy experiment? Take 3 pieces of fruit or veggie gone bad. One goes in the bin, the other stays in the fridge. The third piece could be left at room temp. Which piece will last longer?


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"Maybe in the future fresh food will be stored in a worm-bin."

Ain't holdin' my breath on that one...

"Which piece will last longer?"

Based on current experience, I'd bet cash money on the worm bin...

Paul


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

I go with Paul


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Bin,fridge or kitchen counter,Hhmmm,how will we know for sure which is fartherest along? You can't always tell by looking so since pete brought it up I nominate pete to do the taste test.
Maggots have long been used to clean poorly healing wounds by consuming rotting flesh. I say otis is on the right track.


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"Take 3 pieces of fruit or veggie gone bad. One goes in the bin, the other stays in the fridge. The third piece could be left at room temp. Which piece will last longer?"
That depends on the type of fruit/veg used. A piece of rotting Pumpkin, Melon or Watermelon will last only as long as it takes for the worms to (quickly) consume it.

Shaul


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Senor shaul, those pumpkins, melons, &/or ?watermelons? require no decomp time anyway en soft enough for worms to begin eating at once without the wait.

gracia!

CD


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

While I started this thread as a bit of a lark, based on some of the posts, I have been watching 'things' more closely since I did.

A few years back, I discovered a rye bread made by a local bakery. It is the best bread I have ever eaten. I HATE caraway seeds, (pine needles taste the same and are way cheaper), and the best OLD WORLD rye does not have them. Neither does this bread. Another ingredient that this bread doesn't have is "preservatives".

Because this bread has no preservatives, it is difficult for us to get through a loaf without it developing mold. It has two kinds: "white" and "green". Sitting on the kitchen counter or in the bread-box, the white mold will form in three to four days after purchase. The green mold doesn't form for at least a week. The white mold is essentially tasteless, and I simply eat it. However, when it gets past the first few days, I think the white mold 'facilitates' the green mold formation, so what's left of the loaf goes in the freezer before the green mold has a chance to start.

The last loaf we got was proceeding through the normal sequence of mold and had about 30% of the outside covered with white mold spots about a cm in diameter. I took two of the pieces and put one each in my indoor bins. I left the rest on the counter.

Today, 48 hours later, the bread left on the counter is inedible, completely covered in white mold, with probably 50% of it with green mold as well. The two pieces of bread put in the worm bins HAVE NOT CHANGED AT ALL. NO INCREASE in white mold, and NO green mold AT ALL.

The temperature in the PLASTIC worm bins is 72 degrees F, and the temperature in my kitchen varies over the day from about 68 to 75 F. The worm bins are MOIST AND DARK - the ideal conditions for mold. The kitchen is "light" and while the inside of the PLASTIC bag maintains a higher humidity than the "outside" air, it is certainly not even equal to the humidity in the worm bins.

Here's the 'bottom line' FOR ME:

These worm bins are not a "convenience", neither are they a device to salve a 'guilty conscience' about sending trash to the trash place, or to make a political statement about 'saving the planet'. They are to "make fish food" with the resulting compost a welcome, useful by-product. Therefore, it makes no sense TO ME to put 'PRE food' in the worm bins that has it's decomposition TO worm food INHIBITED by the very act of putting it in the worm bin! (I capitalized the above "to me" to emphasize that I recognize that what I decide is 'good' FOR ME, is not necessarily what is 'good', or practical, or desirable, to someone else raising worms.)

All 'food' for the worms that goes into MY indoor bins will actually BE worm food, not "pre" worm food. In other words, it will be "rotten", or visibly moldy, or "poop". I WILL be starting up a bokashi jar.

Interesting how a thread started in jest ends up leading to a significant change in my perspective on indoor worming.

Paul


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Yep, I agree with your "bottom line" Paul.
The juice pulp I collected in a stretch of 6 months are stored in 3 gal. containers WITH lid. I know many worm farmers here do not agree with storing scraps in enclosed containers due to becoming anaerobic but strangely enough, I don't have a problem with the pulp becoming anaerobic except in a few odd cases. Most of them got (a) fermented (smell). Before I store them beside the house in the open (away from sun) I mixed in powdered egg shells. I had to pick them up in a continuous stretch or the poor staff of the juice place will get confused when to save or throw out the buckets of pulp .
In some occasions, the contents (after maybe 6 mths. or so until I got to this particular one) was liquidy and stinky, definitely anaerobic. I fed it to the worms anyway, with a good pile of DRY shredded newspaper on top. And you know what: Just within a few hours this stinky gross pile of mess is FULL with worms. And I was thinking, this is a good way to harvest worms. On a side note, I have to add that this is safe to do if you have a large bin. My bin is an FT, has a 2 x 4 ft. surface with top ventilation. I pocket and trench feed. NEVER scatter on the surface. My thinking: they will always have a place to go when things go side ways. I also bury small pots above the food, (sometimes stacked so bedding won't fall through the holes) to add air and/or let heat escape. Or when the bin got too wet, I used rolled corr. cb instead of pots.
About the liquidy state, I think this happened when lots of green (from celery or such) were mixed into it.
I also asked for carrot cut-offs. It takes a long time to decompose, so I pre-freeze. I have found that once they are soft, worms went here first before they go to other yummies. Smart worms. The cut-offs still have sugar and other good stuff in them compared to pulp.
I am not going to do bokashi. I'm happy with just worms.


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I'm coming around to your thinking, otis11, but would add that my use of the term "bokashi" was in the context of "pre-digesting" worm food, not that I was looking to generate "compost" by way of bokashi. In other words, I used the term bokashi to mean I would pre-rot my worm 'food' before feeding it to them.

Since I have a limited amount of 'classical' worm food - kitchen vegetable scraps - I am seriously contemplating pulverized oat meal. From what I read here: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/verm/msg0813521414920.html?22
and other places, it seems to be "ready to eat" by worms. I am considering 'pulverizing' the moldy (past edible) rye bread mentioned above. I get the feeling that the reason worms "like" bread is that the yeast is already practically "food". In other words, nothing has to be "broken down", or if it does, there are fewer steps to get to 'actual' worm food. By the way, I also add pulverized egg shells. I mix them with the contents of used tea bags and coffee grounds. I am going to start letting the coffee grounds 'mold' before placing in worm bins. (Back to "bokashi".)

Looks like I am going to have to start to look for 'external' sources of worm 'pre-food'. Horse manure is the preferred READY-TO-EAT worm food, but I think that is best used in my outdoor bins.

Paul


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I'm not sure if this has the right effect but trying to fatten up/make them more "eager" to multiply I also feed them rabbit pellets once in a while. They seem to like it too. Not sure if you have access to rabbit pellets. Here in BC it's about $15 for a 50lb. bag and it goes a long way. I'm still at the same bag of 2 yrs. ago. I know, some people will reprimand me for spending money on worm food but hey, I spent $10 for parking downtown so for 2 yrs. + is not that bad.

I had some left-over oatmeal nobody wanted to eat any more so I cooked that mixed with old flour into gruel. Let it sit for a few days before feeding it to the worms. Cannot swear it was the result of my special gruel but the worms were really fat and frisky after that. And it was the firm kind of fat worms, not soft bodied. Don't have old oatmeal anymore so I cannot repeat it.


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Otis, do you mean rabbit food or dung?
Dad used to feed our fishing worms oatmeal, and they were frisky!
They do make purina worm chow if you want to buy worm food.


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Edited because I didn't see mendopete's post before I posted my response, and I just assumed "poop", not "feed". I think "feed" is what otis11 referred to. That assumption makes the first paragraph of my response 'off topic', so I have removed it.

There are those that criticize "buying" worm bins. They think "you" should make your own LIKE THEY DID. I'm not particularly tolerant of people that DEMAND (by criticizing if I don't), that I do things "their way". If I want to buy food for my worms, and if "you" - the editorial "you" - don't like it, "you" can... well, let me put it nicely: Get intercoursed.

I had no idea that Purina sold "Worm Chow"! I gotta get me some of that! :D

I think a 'tidbit' of science that would help us all would be to determine what triggers reproduction in worms. I KNOW. There has been A LOT of SPECULATION on what triggers reproduction, along with a MOUNTAIN of anecdotal "evidence". Some say "FEED". Some say "STARVE". Some say "HEAT". Some say "COLD". Until I see something to change my point of view, my conclusion from all the "evidence" is that: "Worms reproduce AFTER they reach sexual maturity and BEFORE they die."

I suspect, based on a basically biological point of view, that worms start reproducing when they reach sexual maturity. I think many of the "blooms" (orgies, if you will) that people observe, are the result of a "cohort" of worms reaching sexual maturity at about the same time.

These things DON'T HAVE BRAINS. They have "cerebral ganglia". There can't be too much "calculating" going on. Even in animals MUCH higher up the evolutionary tree, reproduction is basically 'hardwired'. VERY LITTLE animal reproduction is actually a function of response to the environment. (I said "very little". I did NOT say NONE.) It would be nice to see if objective information could be found that demonstrated that reproduction in worms could be manipulated by artificial stimulation. Evidence that a reasonable person wouldn't have to 'squint their eyes' or take on FAITH from some "expert", in order to accept.

Paul

This post was edited by pskvorc on Wed, May 14, 14 at 19:29


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Here's an interesting read I found while looking up "Worm Chow": http://vermicomposters.ning.com/forum/topics/50-lb-purina-worm-chow-19-50?id=2094123%3ATopic%3A222624&page=1#comments

Paul


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I mean Rabbit food, not poop, hehe.
I do have Worm Chow that I bought oh, I don't know, maybe 3 or 4 yrs. ago south of the border. Can't buy it in Canada. Even the Pet Food stores here didn't know that they CANNOT bring it in. They were willing to do it for me but they got info that anything labelled "CHOW" cannot be brought into Canada because of some sort of "agreement". Almost everything in US is cheaper than in Canada so I guess the Canadian Purina wants to protect their sales. Just imagine the volume of people buying dog/cat chow. I think the length of aisles in Super markets for pet food exceed Baby Food. Anyway, when I planned to make a trip to US way back when, I phoned a Feed Store closest to the border to make sure they had Worm Chow. It was close to a small town in the middle of almost nowhere so they charged a bit more. I paid about $19 while other worm farmers in bigger US cities paid $15. I'm really thrifty in doling the Worm Chow out, considering it a treat for the guys and gals after a job well done.

I agree with you Paul. Not every body is in a position to do a DIY and it also depends where the bin is going to be. However, people will soon find out that the rather small purchased worm bin will be WAY too small because we are so impatient and we always want more and fast.
Reminds me of what my neighbour's son kept saying: "I have to make my own mistakes".

The thing about reading papers on worm farming, the tests were done in controlled environment. What WE have here, I doubt there are two identical situations, even from the same worm farmer. What I reported here were just what I observed in my own bins and you could say a "hit and miss". Unless I can replicate the situation several times with (about) the same result, then I can say it works. I'm still thinking, should I or should I not buy oatmeal. At least at the bulk food dept. it will be cheaper.


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Worms have innate survival skills which we will probably never fully understand.
I have observed significant reproduction rates in overfed beds with some room
I have observed reproduction rates stop when density rates are at maximum. For my bed and sample it was about 2 1/2 lbs of worm mass per square foot. All worms seemingly were mature.
Seems to be controlled by available food and worm mass available to consume it.

I also believe innate knowledge and wormy wisdom spurs reproduction during environmental stress. I think that is how the species has survived so long.. But they are hard to interrogate or track individually. And like Otis says, every wormery is unique.


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There is a myth widely believed in the hobby fish culture world that the size of the aquarium limits the size of the fish. That is patently incorrect. Aquaria that do not have a CONSTANT fresh water supply allow build-up of metabolic by-products. Those by-products inhibit growth. Filtered water, even "biologically" filtered water, is almost never sufficient to allow 'natural' growth. This phenomenon causes the APPEARANCE of stunted growth due to the size of the aquarium, as the smaller the aquarium, the faster the metabolic by-products accumulate.

I have a text book from one of the aquaculture classes I took that discusses this myth in considerable detail as it pertains to 'farmed' fish. It has a picture of a mirror carp (Cyprinus carpio caprio) in a container of which the length of the fish is longer than the diagonal of the container! The fish is "bent" in the container, and the fish was raised from larvae to harvestable size in the container. The "trick"... CONSTANT FRESH water from an adjacent stream.

Here's the point:

Sometimes, things appear to happen for one reason - say density, or food availability, or temperature, or .... - when the actual cause is something quite different. Like I said; I'd like to see some information on whether or not breeding behavior and/or frequency could be artificially manipulated.

One thought I had was: Do worms continue to reproduce throughout their adult lives? In other words, do they get "old" and quit reproducing? This would not be "strange". MANY animals stop being reproductive past a certain age. All female mammals and birds are born/hatched with a finite number of eggs, unlike males that produce gametes (sperm) throughout their lives. Once the eggs are "used", there are no more. Since worms lay eggs, and since all of these worms we deal with are hermaphroditic, it is reasonable to me to assume that they MIGHT have a finite number of eggs. If that were so, then production would certainly 'fall off' after a certain point in a population that was made up of a predominant age class.

Just a thought on the concept of density dependent reproduction in worms.

Paul

This post was edited by pskvorc on Thu, May 15, 14 at 1:44


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Just a quick comment originating from the "chow" and "gruel" statements. I've read in several places that a mixture of plain 'ol bottom dollar oatmeal, corn meal, and crushed egg shells are supposed to be a great substitute in times of dwindling kitchen scraps (or when going on vacation). I haven't personally mixed any up yet, despite having all three readily available, but plan to in the near future just to see how they actually react to it.

Then again, maybe this would be better suited for the "Top 5 Foods" thread?


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Today is almost five days (112 hours), since the two slices of bread were put in my two indoor worm bins. They have no more white mold on them than the day they went in, and NO green mold.

The pieces left on the counter in the original plastic bag were thrown away because, and I quote, "They were disgusting".

The worms are STARTING to congregate beneath the slices, but not in any great numbers.

Paul

This post was edited by pskvorc on Thu, May 15, 14 at 20:28


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Damn, another experiment destroyed. You could have put that bread in the bin for a week and then been able to see if it got better. Maybe it would even have even looked edible by then.
You could "try" and train that food is thrown away to the worm bin. Good luck, it has not worked well for me.

I think worm reproduction triggers belong in a new thread.


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Just for clarity, it wasn't EYE that threw the counter-top part of the 'experiment' away.

Tomorrow, I'm gonna take some pictures of the slices in the worm bins.

Paul


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I took some pictures of the bread slices in the bins this morning with my cell phone. They're not great pictures, but they get the point across I think. I'll post them a bit later. Still no new "growth".

As I was giving this more thought, it occurred to me that it should have come as no surprise. "Mold" wasn't growing on ANYTHING, and this environment is just about as "perfect" for mold growth as one can create. EXCEPT that it has WORMS! There should be 'stuff' growing ALL OVER THE PLACE and there is not. EXCEPT spring-tails and worms.

I'm actually fascinated by this. Much more of my 'thought time' will be devoted to this subject and what it "means", both for the subject at hand, and the "bigger picture".

Paul


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"it wasn't EYE that threw the counter-top part of the 'experiment' away"

That proves what was said earier about what works for Peter doesn't nessarily work for Paul. Simply stated,"everyone in Paul's house doesn't share his enthusiam with worming and experimenting". snicker,snicker


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Well I'm not sure about your bread slices, but I know the relatively fresh donuts and leftover buns I threw in the bin (doing the low-carb thing and they were a birthday treat) were moldy, partially decomposing, and rather heated when I was forced to pull them out just a few days later. Not sure what the differences in the your particular substances are, but I've yet to throw anything in that looked 'the same' (let alone 'better' - LOL) within a couple of days.

Then again, I also break everything up relatively well. Maybe I'll try a whole fruit and see how it goes...


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More than you have reported molding when "things" aren't buried. By the same token, many besides me report that there is "no" mold in their indoor, plastic bins. SOMETHING is going on.

I am genuinely intrigued.

Paul

PS - If I understand you correctly, you are not raising E, fetida, but rather "European earthworms". I believe that difference is sufficiently significant to render the 'events' in your bins as relatively non-comparable in the context of "compost worms". (Apples to oranges as it were.) European earthworms are NOT "compost worms". Manure is NOT the preferred food of "earth worms" when they are free-ranging. What they eat may actually be significantly different from what E. fetida eat.

Paul

This post was edited by pskvorc on Sat, May 17, 14 at 3:47


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Just to clarify... the items mentioned above were, in fact, buried (and not just "thrown in" on top of the bin contents.

And you are correct; I am using Euro nighcrawlers as opposed to EFs. However, I don't believe that necessarily eliminates them from being part of the classification of "compost worms" (as they seem to do a relatively good job at the task, and are widely marketed and sold as such as well). The genus difference could definitely contribute to the bin differences to some extent, however, although I would think the environment as a whole (moisture rich bedding combined with spoiled foods) would contribute to the decomposition of an item more so than what species of worms are crawling around it. After all, the microbes do the decomposing... not the worms. Then again, what microbes the worms prefer could be a variable, as well as feeding frequency. So many possibilities... LOL!

I am, however, also genuinely intrigued (solely because the whole situation sounds like an oxymoron), although I admittedly have limited experience and observation to add to the conversation at this point. ;)


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I said above that I would post images, so here they are better late than never:

The next two images are of separate slices in separate bins on the fifth day AFTER being put in the bins. The slices from the same loaf that were left on the counter in the original bag were so COVERED in green mold by this time (looks blue in the pictures because of the poor white balance capabilities of cell-phone cameras), that my wife threw them out. (These first two pictures are blurred because of the low light. :( ) There is just a tiny bit of green mold starting on the lower right of the lower piece of bread.
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These next two pictures are of the same slices 24h later.
 photo 2014-05-17_22-40-02_338jpgrotated9922duplicated_zpsa93a9418.jpg

 photo 2014-05-17_22-39-57_137jpgrotated-5926duplicated_zps88c122d6.jpg

On the third day, the ones left on the counter were WAY worse than the ones in the bin were on the SIXTH DAY! No 'bread' could be seen beneath the mold on the ones on the counter. I can still see "bread" on the ones in the bins and it has been 10 days after being put in the worm bins.

Paul


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I am wondering if this mechanism can be used for sprouting when we are getting ready to plant. I had some pumpkin seeds, few of them went to worm bin, I tried planting few and rest to compost pile.

The one I tried planting have not shown any life so far. Don't know where the seeds are in compost bin.

I was amazed at the sprouts I got back from worm bin. Guess everything it needs is there - moisture/darkness and fertilizer. I have pulled 8 sprouts out of worm bin and now trying to replant it. All the sprouts look extremely health with vigorous growth.


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I too have pumpkin seeds spouting (or rather, small pants growing) in the primarily just grass clipping pile outside and about 10 or 12 cantaloupe seeds sprouting in my worm bin from a week ago. I would plant them, but they're store bought and potentially not non-GMO...


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

light exposure?

that particular mold probably likes/needs more light to grow or perhaps the difference in humidity?

there are also a larger number of competing microbes in your bin whereas I'd guess (and hope) that you bag of bread is relatively devoid of bacteria and other fungi compared to your bin


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It's not "light". The bread molds faster in the dark bread box than it does in the light on the counter. It molds more vigorously when it is moist (in the bag), than when it is out and 'dry'. Putting it in the freezer substantially retards the growth of the white mold, but it does not stop it 'dead'.

I'm reasonably well convinced that the biota as a whole in the the bin is responsible for the suppression of both the white and green molds.

I was thinking about the practical application (outside the operating room), especially in the context of germination. "Damping off" - mold forming at the base of a seeding - is an issue for germinating trays. For a moment I thought germinating in a worm bin might have some possibility, but then the cynical realization that as soon as we WANT to suppress mold formation in a worm bin, it will flourish like it was the "Genesis Project".

Paul


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

One of the things that got me interested in vermicomposting were the claims that worm castings and tea prevented or helped suppress mold in plants.
I live in a damp climate and have problems with mold on some plants. I have tried my aerated teas with some success. It seems to help with some "lighter-colored" powdery leaf molds, but no help on my "black-spot" mold on rose leaves.
Volunteer pumpkin starts appear in castings, and they grow very well.
I plant pole bean seeds in a "V" notch in the ground 2" deep with castings, and get nearly 100% sprouts. Very healthy plants.
Some nursery's use castings as starter medium.
Maybe related?
I am more "Greek" than "Roman" and more a fisherman than a gardener (conflicting season...priorities!). Go with extra-sour dough.


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

I wonder how bread boxes ever became a kitchen necessity. Did nobody notice they did not work? Apparently, mold cannot live by bread alone. Now at least we know which side our bread is buttered on. Wide-eyed I see the result is the greatest thing since... since... since... sliced bread! Competition for real estate: mouldy penicillin vs microbe.

"How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?" --Julia Child


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

Who - besides you, equinoxequinox- said bread boxes "don't work"? As far as I'm concerned, they "work" just fine as a decorative item on a kitchen counter that 1) looks appealing, and 2) hides from view things I want hidden from view.

Who - besides you, equinoxequinox- said bread boxes were a "necessity"? There are plenty of "things" in just about everyone's houses that aren't "necessities": Stuffed couches, box springs, coffee tables, end tables, televisions, radios, vacuum cleaners, and MOST of the things we choose to enhance the environment we live in - a home. Rather, those are the things we choose to have around us to render our environment a bit more appealing and pleasing to the eye or convenient. Bread boxes are a decorative item, not a necessity. Humans - by the millions - have demonstrated that all that is really "necessary" for "life" is a cardboard box. Cardboard boxes don't "work" for ME.

The contents of my house are not there for "approval" by the "necessity police". They are there because they please me OR I WANT them. The pictures I have of my children gracing the walls of my home are not "necessities". If you choose to leave your bread out on the counter, I can assure you that I will not complain or cast a judgmental eye. Apparently, the converse does not apply.

Paul


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

I was referring to 1950's era housewives for who a bread box was indeed a necessity. It often matched the containers for flour, sugar, tea, rice, coffee and sometimes even a cake tin. Nobody ever had a wedding shower without one. One needed one to have a proper kitchen. I had not given any thought to your specific bread box. Strangely, today, Jack n Jill many youngens would be confused what one was even for. Either way I thought your experiment and the results were interesting. What it all means should be very interesting.


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

I personally think bread boxes work, and perhaps some of the basic fundamentals I've seen in regards to how they work might apply to this situation as well.

First, let me disclose I don't personally own a bread box, but after noticing that bread loaves that were left on my kitchen island molded relatively quickly (I'm assuming due to both the light and heat from the skylight directly above it) I, due to my admitted lack of a proper bread box, started keeping it in one of my kitchen cabinets which greatly increased the time it took mold to form.

I can only assume the darkness and cooler temps contributed to this phenomena? If so, perhaps the darkness and moist, cooler temps of the surrounding substrate of a bin helps inhibit mold growth as well?


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

A great place for brand-newbies to go to find out about bins, and bedding, and stuff to feed the wormies, and moisture content, and acidity, and what to do if a mass evacuation puts a damper on your exciting new hobby, and ways to prepare foodstuff for your herd, and lots of other great information: the archives of this vermicomposting site.

Chuckiebtoo

Moderation, Patience, Diversity


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

Bread boxes were invented to provide panelists on What's My Line with a standard item with which to make size comparisons.


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

The 'archives' ARE a wealth of information, but mining that mother-lode is challenging. That challenge is exacerbated by:
1) "Cute" titles to threads that don't lend themselves to comprehending the topic discussed in the thread, (I am certainly guilty of this though I try to minimize it),
2) A wide range of topics discussed within one thread, (I try harder NOT to do this), and
3) A relatively weak search engine,

to name three causes for frustration by "brand-newbies" when they are told "That's been asked a hundred times. Go do some research before you ask questions here."

I am always surprised at the indignation expressed by "oldies" when "newbies" come looking for information without having performed what the "oldies" consider "proper research". NO ONE is OBLIGATED to read, let alone respond to, ANY question posed at an internet forum. Furthermore, newbies are routinely admonished to "look through the archives" and yet the person taking the effort to admonish, takes no effort to provide assistance - like offering links on the topic the "newbie" is being told to "go find". It is reasonable to presume that the person ("oldie") telling the "newbie" to go find information on such a "common" topic, knows EXACTLY where to find all the salient threads on the topic, and are only withholding that assistance for some 'power trip'. Otherwise, why make the "effort" to comment at all, when the only effort it would take to be HELPFUL would be to list the links all of the OBVIOUS sources of information. If they were so "common" and "easily found", why don't the "oldies" keep such a list at their fingertips? Now THAT would be helpful!

If a forum is like a library of knowledge, a librarian recommending that someone "go find the book yourself" when there is NO card catalog or any other reasonable means to determining where a "book" might be, is... well a few adjectives come to mind, but I think I'll leave it to those that choose to read this post to select their own.

Other forums I participate in have "stickies" and other devices to aid "newbies" in finding threads on topics that are basic, and questions that are asked repeatedly. Even businesses now take the time to ASSIST people by offering a "FAQ" location (Frequently Asked Questions), WITH answers AND links, on their websites. This site has neither of those devices.

Finally, there is no guarantee that the information one finds in the "archives" is:
1) Correct,
2) "The Latest",
3) Complete, or
4) Without contradiction in several different threads "researched".
One determines those four points by asking questions in a CONTEMPORARY thread. Too often in my opinion, one is told 'in so many words', "I know the answer to your question, but I'm not going to tell you because you haven't "paid your dues" HERE."

As a "brand-newbie" (apparently "more" newbie than JUST "newbie"), at this site, I have received A LOT of assistance from folks that DIDN'T tell me "I know the answer, but I'm not going to tell you." I appreciate that immensely. When/if it is appropriate for me to share my knowledge on the subject of vermicomposting/vermiculture, I will do so gladly and WITH assistance, or I'll not comment. The choice of how to respond to a request for help, or even whether to respond or not, is - as always - mine.

Paul


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

As I vaguely recall and guess (and could probably search) your first post was informative as to your interests and situation and plans, showed you had spent considerable effort and time before asking for a tiny bit of our time. Your first post probably quickly gave an enticing peek into your enthusiasm for the hobby looking at it in a new light than we had in the past. Long sleeping experts probably arose from comfortable slumber and leapt to their keyboards in reply knowing you would be interested in their comments. I think we did. It was good times. We were glad (that must be the royal we) and excited to have a new poster with quality posts. Your replies reflected the research you had put into the questions. All was good and the world was happy. At least the worm world.

Other first time posters have spent zero time, effort or interest in the topic. Their replies reflect that. Though I doubt most lackluster first posters even bother to make the effort to return and read their replies. They certainly never bother to post a second time.

What we are looking for in first time posts is that they bring a pencil to class. They do not need to speak English well or have studied vermicomposting for longer than two minutes or even have studied anything, but they need to show an active interest past one dull post. Possibly the professor should spend more time on those who do not have these skills as they need the most help. That would burn us out and nobody would be left to answer your good questions. Instead we turned a dull eye to them and saved our energy for you. Your posts seemed worth our effort.

"That's been asked a hundred times. Go do some research before you ask questions here." So we answered their questions 100 times. We told them where to look for the answers the next 1000 times. The 1,001st times a person asks a question that is explained in the second sentence in any article about vermicomposting. I am surprised some of us, not me, are still able to respond with maximum enthusiasm and encouragement. I a glad every time I read one of our veteran posters with that much gladness in their hearts and enthusiasm to help. They do a great job and I am thankful for them.

Taking the option of not replying is OK too. But then a newbie with a massively lacking first post, two hours into it accuses (and I could search it) "nobody replied to my post, you meanies."

Those who have been holding the fort, waiting for enthusiastic, interesting, innovative posters like yourself to reply to have gotten a bit burnt around the edges. I am glad this will not happen to you as you have the option to have reclused yourself from the newbie onslaught. If you have a change of heart, and as you have quickly moved from a newbie to an innovator in the topic, I do invite you to answer the next 1,000 newbies and lets see what your post looks like to the 1,001st poster with no pencil on the first day of class. Suggesting they look at the archives would be kind to a poster who never even signs on to the web-sight again. Doing the search for them would be very kind and maybe there is something more valuable to the world you could be spending your time on instead.

Moderation, Patience, Diversity: It's bigger than a bread box and it's not just for worms.



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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

"Finally, there is no guarantee that the information one finds in the "archives" is:
1) Correct,
2) "The Latest",
3) Complete, or
4) Without contradiction in several different threads "researched".

Correct. But in order to ask a good question of the board or any board, subject, topic or area of interest anywhere in any venue one might need to know the tiniest bit of common knowledge of the history of a topic. Entering a board is sort of like entering a classroom in progress. One can not expect the class start again at the beginning for every person who enters the class three weeks late. One needs to catch up, get up to speed. Newbies are entering a dance in progress or entering a highway of information and need to merge gracefully. Theirs is the sign that says yield. We are traveling at highway speeds. We will jack up the breaks and full stop for those with real need and interest in the topic. Or even a slight nodding glance of an attempt at it. It is up to the newbie poster to have a post that entices the expert posters, the regular posters, the poster that may be the only one on the board with the exact answer they need, the sometimes poster, another newbie poster, a poster who has never posted before, their audience is vast. They only need to have a post that is alive, not dead in the water. It is not too much to ask. We do not get paid very well.

"One determines those four points by asking questions in a CONTEMPORARY thread." The search engine has options where one can ask it to return only items of interest that have new information from the last year, month, week, day, or hour. This is where all newbies born under the sign of the computer have known since they were seven to look. Us oldies should know or ask any child how to do this. Grandchildren are often a blessing in this arena.

One can either spend time posting or taking care of their worms. Others have probably chosen more wisely than I.


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RE: This is beginning to bother me...

This is a difficult subject to discuss without playing the "blame and guilt" game. Unless I'm dealing with abject arrogance, (which I don't believe I am here), I don't like to play that game. It never accomplishes what I hope to accomplish with the discussion. Genuinely NOT wanting to appear patronizing, I want to express my appreciation that you have not started 'blame and guilt'.

I disagree with most of your rationalizations and even the 'spirit' of your responses, which is clearly "us and them" in nature.

The primary 'problem' I have with the "us and them" perspective, is that it suggests - strongly - that "time" as a member of this (or any) forum somehow grants "entitlement" or "credential". Entitlement to decide how a new member is supposed to act. Credential on the value of what is posted regardless of it's actual merit. Time on this site does not grant entitlement or credential.

Many, certainly even most, that have an arm-long list of academic credentials insist that their credentials somehow verify their "expertness" or validate their arguments. That's wrong. If one's arguments cannot stand on their own, and instead require "credential" (whatever form that may take), to authorize them, then those arguments are weak, vacuous, specious, and usually wrong. All the credentials in the world can't make a false premise true.

No credentials are afforded by this forum, although I have seen others that do. I find those sites not worth my time. No one comes to one of these sites knowing "who's who". Nor should they unless the site chooses to 1) provide labels such as "guru", or "grand poobah", etc.,2) designate "official resident newbie question answerers". This site does not.

I simply cannot find justification for COMMENT without assistance, and the reason is simple: NO ONE IS FORCED TO ANSWER ANY POST. Period. Until I am FORCED - God only knows how that could happen - to answer questions posed on an open internet forum THAN HAS NO FAQ LOCATION, I am "insensitive" to arguments that suggest or demand that "newbies" perform some UNDEFINED level of "work" before they are afforded HELPFUL response.

If an "oldie" doesn't want to respond to a "newbie's" questions until the "newbie" has met some arbitrary criteria, (specifically defined only in the "oldie's" head), the ONLY thing the "oldie" has to do is keep their opinion to themselves. If the "newbie" hasn't the patience to wait for a congenial response, there is NO reason/justification for indignation by ANY "oldie" at the "newbie's" impatience because it is not POSSIBLE that the "newbie" was directing their petulance at a specific "oldie" because they couldn't have known who the "oldie" was because the "oldie" DIDN'T RESPOND.

As to me answering 1001 questions:

I own two internet forums. The first of them I have been on since 2002. I have some experience with "newbies". My sites also have "Stickies" with OBVIOUS places for new-comers to go to find FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS. They also have specific people - people that LIKE "newbies" - designated to respond to new-comers' questions. I have answered more than "1000" newbie questions, and I continue to do so as if the question was asked for the very first time. The reason I do is precisely BECAUSE I AM a "newbie" on most of what makes up human endeavors, AND because I HAVE A CHOICE TO ANSWER OR NOT. Personally, I am not "offended" when a novice gets "excited" or even "snippy" when they don't get an answer to their questions in what they consider a 'timely' manner, and as the forum owner, I actually DO have some grounds for "righteous indignation".

Many newbies are actually NEW to internet forums and not only haven't 'learned the ropes' of internet forum social behavior, they haven't been around long enough to have been BURNED so that they do the obligatory genuflecting when they first introduce themselves.

Until a new-comer demonstrates bad behavior, I assume they are reasonable people and act accordingly. Genuine jerks, ones that no one cares to 'have around' usually show their colors PDQ. It's their nature, and they can't hide it for long.

This site, at least to my knowledge, doesn't have "signatures". On other sites that do, my signature is "You will know them by their fruit." That pretty much defines how I view the world today. I hope, and I work toward, my fruit being 'sweet', not 'sour'. That costs me nothing I am not willing to give away.

Paul

PS - In all honesty, I can't imagine that I could provide much assistance to a "newbie" considering that the sum of my first-hand experience with vermiculture is now about 2 months. About all I have to offer is observation of my bins (the topic of this thread by the way), and my opinions on the merits of various "scientific" assertions. I try to qualify my comments regarding "worming" by pointing out the extent of my first-hand experience, and to note what is OPINION borne of "research", (AKA 'paper-whipping') not experience.

Paul

This post was edited by pskvorc on Fri, May 23, 14 at 13:35


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